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Chinese banks are exchanging staff.

Chinese firms are swapping bankers in Hong Kong

With many western firms mulling a hiring freeze in Hong Kong, one corner of the investment banking market is proving robust, with talent moving between Chinese banks in Hong Kong.

Matthew Wong has left CCB International Holdings (CCBI) in Hong Kong, where he was a managing director and joined UOB Kay Hian. Kevin Hu, a director at CCBI has also quit to join CLSA CITIC's institutional sales team.

But it’s not all one-way traffic and CCBI has been rebuilding its team. Two sources say that CCBI has hired Jenny Lo, the former head of sales trading and dealing at Yuanta Securities, while Victor Wong has joined CCBI’s equities team from Haitong Securities.

CCBI suffered departures last May after delaying bonus payments, with Henry Yip switching to CLSA CITIC along with three other colleagues.

One senior banker said departures are the result of the ripple effect from turbulence at CLSA CITIC, which is still being felt in the market. CLSA CITIC suffered a number of departures in 2020 following cultural upheaval at the firm, and it has been rebuilding its team in Hong Kong ever since, leading to it poaching talent from rivals.  “CCBI has been a successful hunting ground for CITIC and now CCBI they are looking to build back as a result. We expect to see more hiring in the coming weeks,” said one Hong Kong-based headhunter.

Not all movement is within banking though - Shing Tam, managing director and head of sales at CCBI, has called time on a 25-year career in banking and joined Trolmaster, an agricultural technology company, as chief operating officer.

Chinese banks have enjoyed a strong start to the year in corporate finance, as they have benefitted by a boom in initial public offerings in their domestic market.

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